Reflecting on Fiction

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A story is a cocoon from which to see the world. It might be exciting. It might be pointed. It might give a glimpse into another world or a look at another side of this one. It might use flowing language, plain language, or the kind of terse language that cuts to the quick, leaving the reader wounded by a lightning strike aha. Sometimes the picture says more than the words. Sometimes the words create a picture. There are so many possibilities. Here’s hoping that in 2020 we can find respect for the story no matter who tells it.

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Wishing all a happy and productive year in 2020. In case you didn’t see this New York Times Op Ed, I’ll pass it on as a follow up to something I wrote after the fire. Hoping for good news about the cathedral next year.

There Will Be No Christmas at Notre-Dame December 24, 2019 New York Times

One Way Airport Call

man wearing pink polo shirt with text overlay
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His accent moved around a lot, a swampy Southern drawl that sped up to nail a point. It was all factual– temperature, weather, numbers, deals notched up on a piece of wood like hunting prizes. If he had talked about bagging a couple of ducks, it wouldn’t have surprised me.

The way he talks makes me wonder if anyone is on the other end. Self talk, tons, clothed in cliched business garb.

Then, he’s staring straight through me, absorbed in his own thoughts. His gaze is steely, purposeful, crushing. Competition and victory are the only things that matter to him.

Rainstorm on the Gulf

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Dark clouds drift to the west, bearing a load of rain drops on the wind. There was a storm earlier. The water pounded the bay in sheets, splashing and sparkling against the gulf, moving in a quiet pattern of ripples. Light and dark shadows reflected across the shallow bottom of a sandy shoal. While it rained, the birds were quiet, the trees were still, it seemed as if the whole of nature’s shop had closed up to watch for the rainbow. When the sky cleared, an osprey was the first one out, soaring and diving, making up for lost time.

Dragonfly

Dragonfly Photo credit: Peter B. Kessler

The latticed wings resembled a ladder. Like a red-orange crayon they drew a line in the sky, a purposeful gash that attracted attention to the one broken stem in a field of reeds where it landed. The dragonfly held its position the way that top predators dominate a food chain. I snapped one picture after another, directing the lens towards its complex eyes. Imagine one insect seen through the lens of a camera and hundreds of moving human beings seen through a multifaceted instrument like the one the dragonfly projects from the slim taper of its body. Would you stay?